A man first charged with robbing banks in the 1980s was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail today on charges he robbed three banks in the Back Bay over the past couple of weeks, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
William Sequiera, 59, a Bostonian who moved to Providence after being released from federal custody four years ago - from what was originally a nearly 27-year sentence for bank robbery - was arrested Wednesday on charges he held up the Santander Bank branch at Berkeley Street and St. James Avenue around 2:35 p.m. on Sept. 27, the M&T Bank branch at 425 Boylston St. around 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 and the Citizens Bank branch at 426 Boylston St. around 3:30 p.m. yesterday.
It turned out that members of the FBI's joint violent-crime task force were waiting for him at the Citizen's branch - which they had staked out after the two earlier robberies - the DA's office reports:
Task force members saw the man, identified as Sequeira, walk from one teller’s desk to another repeatedly demanding "give me hundreds" and placed him under arrest.
The DA's office said that in the robberies last week, Sequeira threatened to shoot tellers if they didn't give him money, specifically, hundred-dollar bills. He made $590 in the first robbery and left the second bank with $388.
In 1989, Sequeira, then living in Lynn, was sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison after he was convicted in federal court for robbing 12 banks in the Boston area. After his release, in 1997, he and two other man were arrested on charges they held up a bank in Cranston, RI at gunpoint. They were caught when the get-away driver spun out on I-95 near the Connecticut line.
Sequeira pleaded guilty, again in federal court, and was sentenced in 1998 to nearly 27 years in prison. Late in 2017, however, a federal judge vacated his sentence. The court ruled that his sentencing, which used his declaration as an armed career criminal under Massachusetts state law no longer applied, after a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, because the way Massachusetts defined armed robbery did not make it a federal "crime of violence" that could be used to increase a person's federal sentence as an armed career criminal.